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Sat, 09 Mar

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York Medical Society

'Reflexions on decayed magnificence’: nostalgia in Georgian Britain

Hannah Rose Woods takes us through the ways in which people in Georgian Britain looked back to the past.

'Reflexions on decayed magnificence’: nostalgia in Georgian Britain
'Reflexions on decayed magnificence’: nostalgia in Georgian Britain

Time & Location

09 Mar 2024, 14:30

York Medical Society, 23 Stonegate, York YO1 8AW, UK

Guests

About the Event

In this talk, Hannah Rose Woods will explore the ways in which people in Georgian Britain looked back to the past. While we might look back today with our own retrospect and picture the Georgian era as an elegant heyday of stateliness and stability, people throughout the long eighteenth century often characterised the age in which they were living as one of disorienting transformation. From yearning for a vanished ‘Merry England’ of rural community, to landscaping Arcadian idylls inside the grounds of stately homes, or else dreaming about the grandeur of the Roman Empire, nostalgia could be a profoundly reassuring coping mechanism. The ways in which they created these idealised or imagined pasts gives us a unique insight into how people viewed the changes that were defining their own age, and how they felt about the societies in which they lived.

Hannah Rose Woods is a cultural historian who is particularly interested in the history of people’s emotional lives. Her first book, Rule, Nostalgia: a Backwards History of Britain (Penguin, 2022) explored nostalgia for a rose-tinted national past over five centuries of British history, from the present day to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, where she taught eighteenth and nineteenth-century British history, and is now an independent writer and researcher. She is a columnist for the New Statesman, and has written on history, politics and culture for publications including the New York Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, London Review of Books and History Today.

All are welcome to YGS lectures. Admission is free to Members and students, and a suggested donation from non-Members of £5.

Image credit: J. M. W. Turner, The old arch of Evesham Abbey, ink and wash painting, 1793, RISD Museum, USA

Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication 

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